Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

International Rescue Committee | Kenneth French, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Abraham Verghese Elected

New York, NY, March 31, 2022 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomed five new members to the Board of Directors. As transformational leaders, visionaries, and experts in their respective fields Kerwin Charles, Victoria Long Foley, Kenneth French, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Abraham Verghese will help advance the IRC’s global humanitarian mission.

With accountability for the wellbeing of the organization, board members support the IRC’s work in over 40 countries by providing governance, counsel, and fiscal oversight.

David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC, said, “Bold leadership is needed to match the scale of humanitarian crises around the world. The IRC is governed by a board of volunteers to further our mission to help people affected by humanitarian crises to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.”

“Our new board members’ diverse expertise and lived experiences—from academia to literature, finance to medicine, and spanning global contexts and backgrounds—will further strengthen the board’s perspectives and skillsets at a time when global challenges are growing,” said Mr. Miliband.

Kerwin Charles is the Indra K. Nooyi Dean and Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Economics, Policy, and Management at the Yale School of Management. He is the Vice President of the American Economics Association, the Vice Chair of NORC at the University of Chicago, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an elected Fellow of the Society of Labor Economics.  

Victoria Long Foley is a mediator with the New York Peace Institute. She sits on several not-for-profit boards following a successful career in finance, most recently as a Managing Director in Global Syndicated Finance at Chase Securities.

Kenneth French is the Roth Family Distinguished Professor of Finance at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College. Currently a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research and advisory editor of the Journal of Financial Economics, French is known for his research in finance.

Viet Thanh Nguyen is an acclaimed best-selling and Pulitzer Prize winning author. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.

Abraham Verghese is Professor and Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor, and Vice Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine, at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He is also a best-selling author and physician with a reputation for his focus on healing in an era where technology often overwhelms the human side of medicine.

“As a refugee who has written extensively about refugee experiences, I hope to be able to contribute to the IRC’s important, global work. Refugees are still being made today, and the urgent need to support them and hear their stories continues,” said Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Kerwin Charles said, “I am honored to join the Board of Directors of an organization that brings a nuanced and humane approach to the recovery and prosperity of survivors of conflict and disaster. In particular, I am humbled to bring to bear my own expertise in economics and inequality to the IRC’s efforts to ensure economic well-being and power for individuals and families during and long after crises.”

Abraham Verghese said, “Having been displaced from one continent by civil unrest and regime change, I have experienced firsthand the meaning of the phrase ‘geography is destiny.’  The work of the IRC is not just important but feels personal; being part of the board is a way I can pay back my good fortune.”

“I am honored to be joining the IRC’s Board of Directors after 5 years as a member of the IRC’s Board of Advisors. Traveling as a part of a board delegation to Jordan and Lebanon in 2017, and then to Bangladesh in early 2020, to meet with IRC field staff and clients, I have witnessed the extraordinary impact of the IRC’s work in action. I look forward to continue supporting the IRC’s mission in my role as a Board member,” said Victoria Long Foley.

“As a proud supporter and advocate of the International Rescue Committee for 20 years, I’m honored to be on the Board of Directors as it works to improve the lives of refugees and displaced persons around the world,” said Kenneth French.


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